- 612 people examined after two cycling technicians test positive for coronavirus during UAE Tour
- 450 given all clear
- 162 results expected soon
- Two who tested positive were team technicians not cyclists
- 21 people have now tested positive for coronavirus in UAE, five have recovered
- 181 students involved in UAE Tour are being kept at home for two weeks as a precaution
- Nurseries off for two weeks from Sunday March 1
Abu Dhabi: The UAE has followed strict precautionary measures to examine UAE Cycling Tour participants after two Italians, who were technical members of the cycling teams, tested positive for coronavirus, Abdul Rahman Bin Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, told a media briefing held at the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
“A total 612 people who were in contact with the two Italian patients were examined, laboratory results for 450 showed they are free from the virus, while results for the remaining 162 people are expected soon,” Al Owais said.
He added the two patients were among the technical crew, who do not mix with the participants in the event, "but we decided to examine all the participants who were quarantined to ensure the safety of everyone."
The two new cases, detected using the UAE’s early screening system, bring the country’s total to 21.
The total number of healed patients in the UAE is five, the Health Minister said.
Six new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the UAE on Thursday, as two patients recovered from the virus, the Ministry of Health and Prevention said.
The new patients include four Iranians, one Chinese citizen and a Bahraini, the ministry said. All had recently travelled to the UAE from Iran - where 254 people have been infected and 26 have died in the past few days - prior to the country’s ban on all flights from the Islamic republic.
On his part, Minister of Education, Hussein Al Hammadi allayed fears of all parents of the students participating in the UAE Cycling Tour 2020 and said about 181 students from different public schools who participated in the event were examined and made sure that they were free of any symptoms of infection with Coronavirus and they were returned to their homes with strict instructions from the Ministry of Education that they should stay in their homes for 14 days as a precaution to ensure that they are free of any symptoms of Coronavirus.
Al Hammadi said the Ministry of Education has informed all parents of students who participated in that event in a circular issued last week of the need for their sons and daughters to remain in their homes while providing an integrated electronic education system to communicate with teachers and ensure that they have access to all classes and online tests as if they are present in their schools.
The Minister of Education said it was decided to suspend study in nurseries across the country, starting from Sunday, March 1, for 14 days, as a precautionary measure during which all nurseries are inspected to ensure that they are clean, sterilized, and meet safety conditions.
Al Hammadi also said that all internal and external trips, activities and events at schools across the country would be suspended as part of precautionary and preventive steps.
The Minister of Health said that the UAE is preparing two planes to evacuate all UAE citizens stranded in Iran, noting that most of them are in the cities of (Qeshm) and (Tehran), the capital, without revealing their number.
The Minister of Health reaffirmed that medical facilities devoted to health isolation are equipped with the latest equipment and supplies according to the standards of the World Health Organisation, to accommodate new Coronavirus patients. He further reiterated that there is no need for concern as the death rate in the new Coronavirus is no more than 2.2 per cent compared to the viruses that appeared in 2013 and beyond, in which the death rate reached about 30 per cent.
“The work teams devoted to confronting the virus and its repercussions work 24/7, and there is a national effort made by those who follow up on this file,” Al Owais said and confirmed that there is a huge specialised medical staff and work teams present in all emirates of the country who work efficiently and are provided with all equipment and tools of surveillance and examination.
Al Owais said the isolation wards are an essential part of any hospital with approved medical standards, and that isolation wards in public hospitals are advanced and equipped with all medical safety procedures.
Al Owais assured that there is a huge strategic stock of special sterilizers to combat the virus that is sufficient for a long time in addition to the availability of masks, pointing out that the relevant health authorities in the country are directly and closely following the availability of all necessary medical supplies and equipment.
The General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Aref Al Awani, who was participating in the UAE Cycling Tour 2020 and is quarantined along with the rest of the participants in the race, spoke through a video conference call and thanked the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority for their efforts to control the conditions in the race, after the emergence of two Coronavirus cases among technical teams.
Al Awani said from his quarantine headquarters that the organising committee canceled the last two rounds of this race out of seven rounds, after discovering the two cases.
He added that the medical teams on Thursday examined all the participants, and made sure that all administrators, technicians, attendees and students who participated in the activities were free of any symptoms of the virus.